Minnesota leads the nation in the number of people who have left or sought to leave the country to fight with terrorists aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Syria, according to a scathing congressional report that says the U.S. and western countries have failed to disrupt the flow of combatants to the Middle East.
Released Tuesday by the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, the report specifically cites two Somali-American Minnesotans who joined or tried to join ISIL, highlighting its online recruiting success through peer-to-peer recruiting that relies on social media and sophisticated online messaging techniques.
Young fighters from at least 19 states have tried to join terrorists in Syria since the start of that country’s civil war in 2011. Minnesota recruits made up 26 percent of the sample of 58 cases reviewed by the committee’s bipartisan task force. California and New York had the second most recruits, with each state making up 12 percent, according to findings.
Luckily, responsible Somali-Americans are appalled by this, right? Right?
“This report is alarming and it’s really very worrisome,” said Sadik Warfa, deputy director of the Global Somali Diaspora based in Minneapolis. “I worry about the stigma and the prospect of our community being marginalized.”
“But in the end, it’s up to us as Somali-Americans to really change our image. And as Minnesotans, we need to be asking what can we do to put these kinds of people into our mainstream here instead of over there.”
Okay, then. Meanwhile:
More than 250 Americans have attempted or succeeded in reaching Syria and Iraq to fight with terrorist groups, intelligence officials estimate. “We have largely failed to stop Americans from traveling overseas to join jihadists,” the task force declared. “A handful of suspects were stopped in other countries, but it appears the majority — 85 percent — still managed to evade American law enforcement on its way to the conflict zone.”
The task force said it could identify only 28 cases in which federal authorities stopped suspects before they left for the Middle East. Eight of those involved Minnesotans who conspired since March 2014 to leave the U.S. for Syria but who were stopped by FBI agents. Those men, all Somali-Americans, are in custody. Three have pleaded guilty in recent weeks to conspiring to join ISIL
So what could possibly go wrong with Obama’s plans to import 10,000 or more Syrian “refugees” next year?